Tag Archives: John Piper

Weekly Favorite Links (June 11-July 1, 2015)

NO CHURN blackberry chip ice cream I howsweeteats.com

(Photo Via)

I have been trying to start this post days in advance so that I’d have adequate time to finish and post. But here I am, sitting in front of my laptop and I can’t even articulate everything that I feel into words. (Is this called writer’s block?) These past two weeks have brought about so many changes. Some foreseeable and expected, others came out of the blue. There have been numerous adjustments to my daily routine, relationships, and priorities. And need I mention that the clock doesn’t stop.

Even though I’d like to think that I have a personality that can adapt and get used to new situations quickly, I readily admit that change is something I dread rather than embrace. However, I know that God uses surprising circumstances to remind me that I’m not the one in control and to cause me to trust in him more.

Lately, I have been reading The Valley of Vision, which is a collection of Puritan prayers and devotions that was put together and edited by Arthur Bennett. Reading these prayers on a regular basis prompts me to strive for a God-centered perspective and a humble attitude throughout my day. I read it often because it speaks so much truth — truths that I need to repeat over and over again because my heart is just fickle like that. I’d like to share one prayer with you, which is my current go-to favorite. Also because I think this prayer kind of captures how I’ve been praying for myself.

Lord, high and holy, meek and lowly,
Thou hast brought me to the valley of vision,
where I live in the depths but see thee in the heights;
hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold thy glory.

Let me learn by paradox that the way down is the way up,
that to be low is to be high,
that the broken heart is the healed heart,
that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit,
that the repenting soul is the victorious soul,
that to have nothing is to possess all,
that to bear the cross is to wear the crown,
that to give is to receive,
that the valley is the place of vision.

Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from deepest wells,
and the deeper the wells the brighter thy stars shine;
Let me find thy light in my darkness,
thy life in my death,
thy joy in my sorrow,
thy grace in my sin,
thy riches in my poverty thy glory in my valley.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Weekly Favorite Links (June 5-10, 2015)

(Photo Via)

Some friends and I recently went to The California Science Center to see the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibition. I mentioned in this post a couple months ago that I was excited to see it (and sadly, no, I did not watch Jerusalem 3D narrated by my favorite Cumberbatch). While I looked forward to behold the Dead Sea Scrolls in person, I also wondered what else would be on exhibit.

I think one of the most memorable artifacts that stood out to me, perhaps more than the manuscripts themselves, were the household fertility gods that I saw. They were small figurines, probably made out of clay and were no bigger than the size of my hand. These little man-made idols made a lasting impression because it’s relevant to what I’ve been reading in the Bible. For the past month, I’ve been studying the book of Hosea with some friends. We’ve been reading about how Israel has been unfaithful to God, and how they turned to other idols for help. Their hearts did not love God, and they engaged in practices that were in outright rebellion against him.

My favorite verse so far comes from Hosea 6:6: “For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.” I believe that this is the central theme of the entire book. God desires his people to worship and love him only. Even when God charges Israel and Judah with a list of grievances, prophesies judgment against them, you still read about how God wants to redeem them from their adulterous ways. It was easy for me to laugh at how ridiculous those small clay idols were at the exhibit. How could the Israelites place their hope in fertility gods and follow other deities worshiped by neighboring nations when they’ve seen of the marvelous handiwork of God himself? How could they forget about how God rescued them from Egypt and how he brought the seemingly impossible walls of Jericho to come tumbling down? It seemed absolutely ludicrous.

But then I look at my own life. I may not have physical idols scattered in my home, but I have idols hidden in my heart that I worship apart from God. I worship things that are just as ridiculous and silly as those fertility gods that I saw. The only difference is that the idols we may worship today may be more ambiguous and subtle. We may not bow down and pray to those things, but those idols emerge in our conversations and are evident from how we spend our money to how we utilize our time.

I’m thankful that I left the exhibition with more than a glimpse of historical artifacts. While the Dead Sea Scrolls were cool and I’d go see them again, I went away humbled at the daily grace that I’ve been given and a reminder of just how undeserved I am of God’s patience and love when I’m constantly so disobedient. Amazing grace, indeed.

Continue reading

Weekly Favorite Links (May 14-20, 2015)

(Photo Via)

Too often and too late do I find myself regretting that I didn’t savor the seemingly mundane moments in my life. I’m guilty of taking many things for granted, and at the top of the list is time. There are days when I wish time would hurry along, such as when I’m starting out my first steps in a run (which are always the hardest!) or if there’s a big event that I can’t wait to be a part of. On the other side of the spectrum, I sometimes wish time would slow down and come to a halt so that I could savor it some more. I reflect back to my college days of staying up with friends until the wee hours in the morning, not because we were studying (although we did plenty of that too) but because we were simply just talking about life and enjoying each other’s company. Little did I know that those talks would be counted as some of the most precious moments of my college experience, and that they would never come by again.

Then there’s that one hot summer day, when my grandmother took me all around the streets of Taipei, Taiwan to find the perfect wrist watch for me. A new watch was consistently one of the gifts she’d give me whenever I’d visit, which wasn’t often. It was an item that bound us together, no matter where we were, and seeing a watch would always remind me of her. To this day, I wear that watch wherever I go because of its sentimental value to me. Perhaps if I had known back then that God would take her home soon, I probably would’ve been more intentional that summer. Or maybe that’s just my own wishful thinking.

After graduation, I can’t just walk over to my friends’ apartments and start a conversation like I did so many times back in college. It’d be impossible because everyone’s now physically scattered throughout the world. While we used to all be in the same stage of life (college students), a lot of us are pursuing different things. Thus, it’s moments back then that challenge me to treasure the present and to have a sense of urgency for the future. The Bible reminds us that we’re finite human beings and we’re up against a ticking clock. Only God knows when our time is up. The author of James reminds us that tomorrow isn’t guaranteed and that we are simply a mist from the perspective of eternity (James 4:14).

Time is the greatest gift that we can ever give because it is not something that we can ever refund or replay. There is no time machine that can turn back time, nor can time be rushed. Each and every second in this life counts. While every moment is fleeting, it also matters much. Just like all my other resources that I’ve been blessed with, time is a God-given gift. We ought to be good stewards of time, to live not for ourselves, but according to how God intends for us to live. I have to wholeheartedly agree with David Mathis from Desiring God, who says in his article, “One key principle in making our time-management Christian is this: Let love for others be the driver of your disciplined, intentional planning. It is love for others that fulfills God’s law.

So the question that I’ve been asking myself this past week, and the question that I’d like to extend to you is, how are you using your time and resources today to show love to others? 

Continue reading